Archive for the Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre Category

Rules of Rehearsal

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on February 7, 2018 by RobALott

They are theater traditions that have evolved out of necessity of creating a good (and practical) working atmosphere. Some people know them, some people don’t. It’s your job to keep them in play without seeming like a martinet.

1. When people are late, they apologize to the stage manager, the director, and, in extreme cases, the room.

2. People leaving a scene or needing to get to the other side try not to walk in front of where the director is working.

3. Actors should know their lines on the date assigned.

4. People not in the scene should not read or do their taxes in the room. It implies the action is boring.

5. Any offstage conversation should be whispered and short. And don’t run lines out loud.

6. Actors may not leave the general area without checking first with the stage manager.

7. No smoking, no cell phones, no elaborate meals.

8. Don’t direct on the breaks without asking permission. (“May I give you a note?”)

9. Be presentable, wash hair, wash you.

10. Introduce visitors.

Tips by Jon Jory

What would you add to this list?

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Quality Takes Time

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 5, 2018 by RobALott

If quality comes quickly, it’s only because you’ve just arrived and only now have you begun paying attention to the work that’s already been done.

Trust Your Sense of Humor

Posted in Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin' on January 29, 2018 by RobALott

Don’t try to get a laugh from your audience. Instead, give your audience an opportunity to laugh.

Deliver the punchline in the way you find funny.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of delivering the line the way you think the audience will find funny. They’ll sense your over-eager pleading for a laugh and shut it down.

It is actually your sense of humor the audience will key into and get behind.

Trust it.

Not All Audiences Are Created Equal

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin' on January 22, 2018 by RobALott

What worked last show may not work this show.

What always kills may, this time, fall flat.

We must take into account all that an audience has dealt with just before the curtain goes up:

The weather.

The news of the day.

The traffic.

The time of day.

Even the day of the week.

All these things affect an audience’s response and engagement.

Every show must be performed solely and specifically for that independent audience.

If not, you might as well be the Country Bear Jamboree.

I Perform For…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on January 15, 2018 by RobALott

“I perform for me.”

Then you should buy yourself a really nice video camera.

“I perform for my cast.”

Then you should invest in a really nice rehearsal space.

“I perform for the audience.”

Oh, then you should get yourself a checking account.

You Have to Get the Joke

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff on December 18, 2017 by RobALott

The story goes…

The final call-back to work on a Mel Brooks project is to tell Mr. Brooks a joke.

Well, seeing as how Mel Brooks has already heard every joke there is, most of which he probably wrote himself, chances are good he’s not going to laugh. But, chances are also good you’ve already got the gig and he’s just making absolutely sure you know how to deliver a punchline, and that you’re not going to stumble over the set-up.

You don’t need to be funny to tell a joke. But you do need to get the joke in order to be able to tell it, and you do need to be funny to get a laugh.

Ownership

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on December 11, 2017 by RobALott

“You might play the role, but the character doesn’t belong to you.”

To whom, then, does it belong?

If you aren’t able to give an actor ownership, then who do you suppose will take responsibility for the performance?

A Word of Caution: Be careful removing ownership of a character from the one closest to it. This is a recipe for dull, heartless, and uninspired performances.

Guide, direct, and influence for what should be most valued in a performance, of course.

But ownership has got to belong to the actor closest to the material, the character, and the performance.